UK Recruitment Trends: February 2021
- Permanent hiring up 38% month-on-month with contract vacancies also up 42%
- Annual hiring down but percentage fall continues to decrease
- Daily tracking data shows a flurry of hiring immediately after the Christmas period
Vacancies for contract and permanent jobs increased in January when compared to December 2020 as optimism returned to the professional recruitment sector. That’s according to the latest monthly UK Recruitment Trends Snapshot report from The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).
Vacancies down year-on-year but annual percentage fall continues to decrease
The data, provided by cube19, revealed that following the usual dip in recruitment activity over the Christmas period, hiring bounced back in January for both contract and permanent jobs with roles up 42% and 38% respectively – indicating that the current climate isn’t hampering the regrowth from the pandemic.
The statistics also reveal that while year-on-year permanent vacancies were down 28%, the annual percentage fall is continuing to decrease. In December, the year-on-year drop stood at 32% signalling a 4% improvement in January. In comparison, contract vacancies were down by only 11% year-on-year – a 5% improvement on December where the drop was 16%.
Elsewhere, the data reveals that while permanent placements increased by 7% month-on-month, contract placements fell by 6%. However, there was an increase in sales revenue from contract placements (up 7% month-on-month) suggesting that there were higher value placements in January compared to December 2020.
Daily tracking shows initial hiring spike in January
The daily tracking data reveals that there was a flurry of activity immediately after the Christmas period with 14% more contract jobs added in the first two weeks of January compared to the last two weeks of the month. On the permanent side, there was a steady flow of jobs throughout January with just a 2% difference between the first and second half of the month.
Interview numbers increased by 18.5% in the last two weeks of January compared to the first two, suggesting that this uptick will translate into positive placement numbers in February.
Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo comments:
“It’s incredibly encouraging to see such a healthy uptick in vacancies for both permanent and contract roles month-on-month following the usual seasonal dip in December. And while we entered the New Year with the announcement of another national lockdown, schools closing once more, and a return to widespread remote working, our data suggests that this hasn’t dampened hiring intentions with businesses remaining optimistic despite the current restrictions. In addition, the fact that the percentage drop in year-on-year vacancies for permanent jobs is closing indicates we are certainly moving in the right direction. It is also interesting to note that we are seeing higher value contract placements indicative of the increasing reliance on the professional contingent workforce as employers turn to agile and flexible hiring solutions in an uncertain market.”
Joe McGuire, Global Sales Director of cube19 says:
“The number of new vacancies in January is very positive and this is in spite of The Bank of England reporting that GDP is expected to fall by about 4% in Q1. They are also projecting that following this, there will be a rapid recovery toward pre-Covid levels throughout 2021 which means opportunity will continue to grow in our industry this year.”